Kirkus Star


Email this review


In his introduction William Shirer calls Jennie Lee an ""English key woman"". This is her autobiography. At 24 she was a member of the House of Commons, representing the Independent Labor Party (the left wing of the party). Self-made, daughter of a Soots mining family, brought up in File, and dedicating her life to an attempt to change conditions which she knew at first hand. Charming description of a childhood that was often far from charming, with evidence of early awareness of local labor problems, which expanded to include national controversies when she managed to acquire an Edinburgh University education. She went to Ireland to help strikers, she taught school, she followed closely the industrial unrest of the '20's, she went to the House of Commons for three years, she toured America, talked to laborers, went to Canada, Austria, Russia, Spain. Marriage to a Welshman. And a new type of career opening up under Beaverbrook, when the war came. She does not pull her punches when it comes to criticism of things English, past and present; she expresses definite views on all aspects of labor legislation; she evaluates the new alignments arising from issues today and tomorrow; she reflects a contagious affection for people everywhere that gives the book a bracing quality. There are big names here, with her personal appraisals. For all its absorption with social problems, the book has a holding quality and is a unique expression of faith.

Pub Date: Aug. 13th, 1942
Publisher: Farrar & Rinehart